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I'm a judge, so I don't want to seem partial, but Trish will win this over my dead body.
Leslie Knope

"Beauty Pageant" is the third episode of season 2 of the NBC television series Parks and Recreation. It originally aired on October 1, 2009 to 4.63 million viewers.

In the episode, Leslie serves as a judge in the Miss Pawnee beauty pageant and becomes determined to prevent an attractive, but talentless and unintelligent, contestant from winning.


Leslie proudly announces to the Parks and Recreation staff that she will be judging the Miss Pawnee Beauty Pageant, a job she takes very seriously. Tom, excited at the prospective of judging women on the basis of their looks, pulls some strings to get a spot on the judging panel along with Leslie. April enters the contest in order to win the $600 prize, despite being disgusted with the concept of a beauty contest. She tries, unsuccessfully, to gain an advantage by sucking up to Leslie. Later, Pawnee police officer Dave Sanderson visits Leslie at work to ask her out on a date. She initially accepts, but when Dave mistakes a photo of Madeline Albright for Leslie's grandmother, Leslie changes her mind.

Meanwhile, Ann offers to cook Mark a cheap meal if he will fix her broken shower; Mark accepts what he calls "the weirdest second date ever". That night, the date goes well, until Ann takes her trash outside and finds her ex-boyfriend Andy is spying on her from the pit, where he is now living. Back inside, Ann complains about Andy to Mark, who thinks they should invite Andy inside when it starts to rain. Ann reluctantly agrees, and Andy spends the rest of the night interrupting their conversations and spoiling romantic moments. After dinner, Ann kicks him out, but Andy remains convinced the night went very well for him.

Leslie and Tom arrive at the pageant and meet the EMCEE Martin Housely and the other judges Jessica Wicks, Ray Holstead, and Charles Woliner. Leslie, who wants the Miss Pawnee winner to be dignified and graceful, favors Susan Gleever, a student and children's hospital volunteer. But the other judges favor Trish Ianetta, an attractive but untalented and unintelligent woman. Tom is particularly impressed with Trish, even when she answers Leslie's question about how "we as citizens can improve on the great experiment?" by making fluffy remarks about America and expressing a distaste for immigrants. April puts on an act by pretending to be a shallow beauty contest contestant, but instantly quits when she learns the $600 prize actually consists of gift certificates for a fence company.

After the contest, the judges deliberate. Tom and the other judges all immediately agree Trish should win, but Leslie insists on further discussion. She pushes for Susan to win, but the judges eventually settle on Trish. After the pageant ends, Leslie makes a speech congratulating Susan anyway, and claiming the "Susans" of the world will carry on, even when they lose to the "Trishes" of the world. Dave approaches Leslie at the pageant and asks her again on a date. When she hesitates, he tells her she should call him if she changes her mind. As Dave leaves, he bumps into Trish, who he pushes past without much notice, impressing Leslie. The next day, they set up a date, and Dave tries to impress Leslie by showing he has memorized the names of all the female politicians in her photographs.


Main Cast

  • Amy Poehler
  • Rashida Jones
  • Paul Schneider
  • Aziz Ansari
  • Nick Offerman
  • Aubrey Plaza
  • Chris Pratt

Guest Stars


Leslie: I'm a judge, so I don't want to seem partial, but Trish will win this over my dead body.

Tom: I had to call in a few favors. But if you don't call in favors to look at women in bikinis and assign them numerical grades, what the hell do you call in favors for?

Leslie: What you doing in these parts?
Dave: Oh, I just, uh, I came by to see the murals. This one is pretty amazing.
Leslie: Yeah, this one's a beauty. You know, in the 1880's, there were a few years that were pretty rough and tumble in Pawnee. This depicts kind of a famous fight between Reverend Bradley and Annabeth Stevenson, a widowed mother of seven. The original title of this was "A Lively Fisting." But y'know, they had to change it for...obvious reasons.
Dave: She's got him by the hair pretty good there.
Leslie: Yeah.

April: This is an impression of my sister, Natalie.. "Hi, I'm Natalie, I like Ritalin and have low self-esteem!"

April [about the beauty pageant]: I may not have won, but at least I didn't make any new friendships.


To see Trivia, go here.